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Navy confirms man in Kahala Hotel incident was assigned to Pacific Fleet submarine force

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                The Honolulu Police Department’s Specialized Services Division responded to a barricade situation at the Kahala Hotel & Resort.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Honolulu Police Department’s Specialized Services Division responded to a barricade situation at the Kahala Hotel & Resort.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Guests who just arrived this evening head to the country club instead of the hotel.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Guests who just arrived this evening head to the country club instead of the hotel.

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

The U.S. Navy has confirmed a sailor assigned to the Pacific Fleet submarine force was the man found dead today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a barricade situation at The Kahala Hotel & Resort.

The sailor’s identity has not yet been released.

The 40-year-old man barricaded himself in a room the hotel and communicated with family that he was suicidal, according to the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Investigative Division.

Police were called and negotiations were started.

The barricade situation ended around 3 a.m. when police made their entry into the room and found the man dead.

7:30 a.m.

The barricade situation at The Kahala Hotel & Resort ended early this morning with the armed man found dead in his hotel room of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police left the scene just after 4 a.m. but released no other information.

The incident began before 6 p.m. when the man, reported to be in the Navy, fired shots into the door of his fourth-floor room at the luxury resort. No one was injured.

The hotel was put on lockdown, and guests and staff were later evacuated.

Dozens of the Honolulu police officers, including from the HPD’s Specialized Services Division and negotiators, responded as the barricade situation continued for about 10 hours.

The Navy referred questions about the incident to the public affairs officer for the U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force, who was not immediately available for comment.

1:30 a.m.

More than seven hours into the barricade situation at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, guests and employees are being allowed to leave.

During the last hour or so, roughly 100 people who were kept by police in the hotel have left to the Waialae Country Club, where shuttles are waiting to take them home.

Lindsey Sweitzer, who lives in Hawaii but was staying at the hotel, was in the hotel pool with family when staff asked them to move into the lobby because of an emergency.

“Then an armed policeman said, ‘Get inside. Get under cover,’” Sweitzer said.

She said the staff continued to care for the guests during the lockdown.

“The staff was fantastic. They took care of us. They … still treated it like a five-star hotel,” she added.

Sweitzer said a family member was in one of the rooms, but police were able to reunite them.

About 50 to 100 people were in the lobby as well.

While people panicked initially, the night ended up being relatively calm.

A hotel employee, who did not want to be identified, said he along with about 100 people had waited in the ballroom in the hotel, which is protocol.

He said people were “frantic” initially but the mood became less so once staff explained what was going on.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Guests and staff at The Kahala Hotel & Resort were evacuated or sheltering in place late Saturday night after an armed man fired shots through his door and barricaded himself in his room on the fourth floor of the luxury resort.

About two dozen members of the Honolulu Police Department’s Specialized Services Division and other police officers, along with negotiators, were on the scene.

HPD Capt. Brian Lynch said police responded to a 5:40 p.m. report of shots being fired at the hotel.

When hotel security went to investigate, the man, a guest who Lynch said is in the military, fired several shots through the door.

No one was hurt, Lynch said.

“The suspect shot through the door and thankfully the security guard wasn’t standing in front of the door. So that was really the only close call we had,” he said. “At this point we’re just waiting for the suspect to give up.”

The armed man’s family also is at the hotel, and they are safe, police said.

Julia Luck, 33, of McCully, and Elizabeth Bain, 32, of Ewa, were on a staycation at the hotel. They were just heading downstairs to go to dinner when they saw a couple of people “crying and freaking out.”

Bain said she had forgotten her sunglasses and the manager said they weren’t allowing anyone back into their rooms. As the pair walked out of the hotel, they heard sirens and saw more police arriving.

Luck said it was her first time away from her 3-year-old son, and she called her husband to say they were OK.

The two women went to dinner in Kahala and returned to the hotel, remaining outside, unable to get back in. They were debating whether to wait out the situation or stay at Luck’s home for the night. Either way they counted themselves lucky they weren’t confined in the hotel.

Black Point resident Rex Jakobovits, 52, said he was walking along the beach and had entered hotel grounds to look at the dolphins. Police came and he was herded along with hotel guests into a ballroom. At first, the 100 or so people in the ballroom, most wearing masks, kept to themselves and a few appeared upset or were crying, Jakobovits said. After a while, the mood settled, he said, and when it was announced that food would be served, a cheer went up.

After enjoying some sashimi, butterfish and chocolate mousse, Jakobovits said he got impatient, exited through a back door and began walking down the street away from the hotel.


Star-Advertiser staff writers Mark Ladao, William Cole and Allison Schaefers contributed to this report.


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